Question: From your work leading the National High School Center, what advice or insight do you have for districts who may be interested in implementing tiered interventions at the high school level?
Joe Harris: I think tiered interventions at the high school level is an effective strategy for organizing and aligning the different types of supports that can be provided to ensure that all students succeed. I think also that the key elements of tiered intervention – RTI screening, progress monitoring, tiered intervention supports, and database decision making – apply at the high school level as well as long as it is understood that the context is different, and context matters when implementing tiered interventions. So my advice would be full speed ahead, learn from others. One way to do that is to take a look at this publication that was prepared by the National High School Center, the National Center on Response to Intervention, and the Center on Instruction that has some guidelines and questions that you need to be asking yourself as you're implementing a high school tiered intervention initiative. One of the things that is very strongly recommended is to make sure that there is a coherent vision going forward that focuses the efforts around some aspect of tiered interventions. At the high school level, it is a little bit more complicated to try to do a school wide approach that is advocated at the elementary school level, so it is important to zero in on a particular area such as literacy, or some behavioral improvement, or attendance or something like that. I would also recommend visiting the National High School Center site to get a copy of this document as well as to join our high school community of practice where there are ongoing discussions about some of the challenges and sharing of resources around implementing tiered interventions at the high school level.